Updated: Oct 29, 2019
Tostadas, or chalupas, are one of my favorite items to order at Mexican food restaurants. They are the nacho's sexier, more sophisticated older sister and come in a variety of iterations both fancy and humble. The classic Tex-Mex version that I usually see on menus is the Chalupa (aka Tostada) Compuesta- I'm not sure what that translates to exactly in English, but I think it might mean "topped with a lot of yummy stuff." It's usually a fried tortilla schmeared with greasy refried beans, gobs of cheese, a huge helping of rich beef or chicken, shredded iceberg lettuce, guacamole, tomatoes and sour cream. Delicious? You bet! Nutritious? Maybe not so much. When I'm cooking restaurant style dishes at home, I'm always looking for ways to add health points without subtracting any flavor. These tostadas check both of those boxes! I start by roasting a big ol' sheet pan loaded with cumin spiced veggies- sweet potatoes, peppers, zucchini and corn. Play with whatever you have on hand! Mushrooms, red onion, other types of squash and even broccoli could be tasty. Then, I bake the tostada shells instead of frying them. I think they taste just as good-and they're so much lighter! I cut some corners by using store-bought refried beans and salsa, but I always take the extra 25 seconds to make my own guacamole. Seriously- it makes a big difference (check out my recipe for guaCOCOmole). Instead of iceberg (which has no real nutritional value), I like to top these with crunchy shredded romaine and/or red cabbage. Arugula works as well! These crispy, creamy and colorful tostadas compuestas are beloved by everyone in my family- I know they'll be a hit at your house as well! Vamos a comer, amigos!
prep time: ~20 min. cook time: ~50 min. (includes roasting vegetables) serves: 4
1 large sweet potato, peeled and cubed into 1" pieces
1 red bell pepper, seeded and 1" diced
2 zucchini squash, cubed into 1" pieces
1 cup frozen corn
2 cloves of garlic minced
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp dried oregano
avocado or vegetable oil
salt and pepper
8 corn tortillas (or 8 prepared tostada shells)
1 can refried black or pinto beans
1 cup shredded cheddar or jack cheese
shredded romaine and/or red cabbage, diced tomatoes, guacamole, salsa and pickled jalapeño slices
Preheat the oven to 400°. Toss the sweet potato, bell peppers, and zucchini together on a large rimmed sheet pan with the garlic, cumin, oregano and oil to coat (about 3 tbsp). Tip: line pan with foil for easy clean-up. Bake 30-35 minutes, tossing corn on top in last 5 minutes of cooking to thaw. Remove vegetables from the oven and transfer to a bowl, leaving oven on.
Coat the same or another sheet pan with 2 tbsp of oil and rub the tortillas top and bottom in the oil to coat. Lay them out on the sheet pan in an even layer (you may need two pans here). Bake for 5 minutes at 400° and then flip over and bake another 5 minutes, until they are beginning to lightly brown around the edges and bubble. Be careful- they will burn quickly! Remove them from the oven and sprinkle with coarse salt (they will continue to crisp as they rest). Leave the oven on.
Alternately: fry the tortillas in 1/2” of avocado oil heated in a cast iron skillet until they are brown and crisp on both sides.
To assemble, spread 2 tbsp of the beans on each tostada shell, top with 1/4 cup of the roasted veggies and sprinkle the cheese on top. Pop the tostadas back into the oven for 5-7 minutes, until the cheese is melted and the veggies and beans are warmed through. To serve, top with guacamole, shredded lettuce, tomatoes, jalapeños, and your favorite salsa.